Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My absence can be blamed on many things. A nasty cold, laziness, too much new tv to watch, facial pain from the cold, (that was strange-never had that before) napping, and most importantly, it's spring time and the state of our basement is on high arachnid alert. I think (pray) I killed the biggest one yet yesterday. You never know with spray what happens to them after they limp off to a dark corner. Probably building an army.

I made the best meal ever yesterday. It's not from PW's book, but it is her recipe. I may have even mentioned it before. Ranch Style Chicken. Make it with potatoes and beans. It's about a million calories, that's why the beans are important. It takes all the guilt away.

One of Dan's homework assignments was to write the sentence "Dad sat in the sun."

First he wrote "Dad sat on the sun." And he was determined that that was more correct because how can you possibly sit in the sun?

After I explained to him that while that may be so true, especially when speaking about a human's proximity to the hottest celestial body in the universe, we needed to write the sentence as it says in the directions.

Then he wrote some words squished together at a severe diagonal angle because the lines I drew for him were now erased. So I made him try again, emphasizing the need for spaces.

Then he wrote "Dad is in the sun" with huge spaces. Funny.

I think we finally got it right. But only after I pretended what he did was amusing. Such a boy.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"I'm going off the rails on a crazy train"

I'll start with what just happened to me.

I got a live action version of the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme and I'll admit, I wasn't going to sit down at this computer again till I rewrote the story with a much more violent ending involving machine guns and WOMD.

After I settled for a wimpy paper towel and nerves that almost sent me into my first full blown panic attack, I'm back.

I really am losing my mind. I had a fantastic story involving a conversation I had with Daniel that I was going to retell in true campfire fashion and all I remember about it now is that it took place in front of the oven.

Also, I'm forgetting thoughts as I'm having them. I'm so easily distracted that even now, all I can think about is the diabolical way that spider lowered itself down from the ceiling right next to me. What if it chose to land on my head? How long would it be up there, probably building a vacation home, before I realized it's existence and was sent to the er after severe convulsions and flailing.

I made my 38th recipe from Pioneer Woman's cookbook today. Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes. To call these "pancakes" is a little inaccurate. These were delicious, but they tasted more like sour cream and eggs than flapjacks. Not that I'm complaining. A person can get really sick of pasty floppy IHOP fare. (but not if there's chocolate chips in them)

I think I'll go burrow in my safe arachnid-free bed with the covers over my head now.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Despite having an extensive mixture of nationalities in our blood, Mom always made sure we were aware of our strong Irish background. St. Patrick's Day was of course the best day of the year to demonstrate our heritage proudly. I now know that the Irish dye their mashed potatoes a murky greenish-yellowish hue and they must wear green somewhere on their body every day, especially their holiday.
Also, above all else, the smell of cabbage is infused into their homes and selves because that's the only vegetable that will go with the corned beef staple for dinner. And shamrock shaped cut-out cookies are the only acceptable dessert. (I'm sure Guinness must be in there somewhere but mom hid that one pretty well.)
So now I continue to teach my kids our "Irish" traditions, though I've foregone dying the potatoes green. (though maybe that would get them to actually eat them) And I won't make any version of cabbage. But we did have corned beef, shamrock cut-outs, and shamrock shakes. So all in all, I think I'm doing a pretty good job of teaching my kids proper Irish history and tradition.
We made our first visit of the year to the nearby playground tonight. It's fantastic when the kids can run off and play with each other and with other kids that come by. My heart was warmed to hear Katie encouraging an older girl to play tag with them. I'm comfortable sitting on the bench, smiling at how wonderful it is for the noise to be so far away and I'm feeling very proud of my children when I hear him say it.
Dan. I was afraid of this. I heard it yesterday in our home and spoke to him about it but I knew it was only a matter of time before he started saying it in public.
Right in front of two lovely little kids and their mother, he said "Oh s---!"
Horror of playground horrors! I mean typically all we mothers have to deal with is making sure the kids share the swing or that they keep the wood chips on the ground. These are the understood sisterhood rules of the playground mommies.
But this. This is the big no no of proper playground etiquette and we breached it big time.
Well that's it. We had one good day at least. Time to start looking for another area to play at because word travels fast and now we'll be known as the family with "that kid that swears". Our reputation I've worked so hard at as "the family with three whole kids that never seem to fight and always leave without complaining" is shot. I'm so ashamed.
Despite Dan's desperate last ditch effort to cover up his mistake by saying he followed it up with the word "cow", he and I had a little talk. And though I'm responsible for him knowing this word, (he even used it in the right context) I think he's ready to let that be only a grown up word.
At least when I can hear him.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Today I made PW's Flat Apple Pie. Why there exists a version of everything an apple pie is, just in a different shape, I don't know.

But I will be making regular 'ol apple pie from now on. Her crust recipe is fabulous and easy to work with. My crust always came out too dry to properly roll out but I can rarely bring myself to buy pre-made crust. I think it's against one of the Ten Commandments or something.

And the apple mixture was delicious too, just really runny. Which brings me to the reason why PW is an insane woman who gets her kicks out of inventing "easy" versions of beloved dishes that sound great on paper, but have a tendency to explode when tried at home.

In her version, the dough is rolled out into two circles with the apple guts placed in a pile in the center and the dough edges rustically draped around the outside. So you have two sloppy "pies". I don't mind the two pies or the messy rustic feel half as much as I mind the lovely way all the juice ran out onto the pan during the baking process, fusing the pie and the foil to the sheet in a gooey, globby mess not to mention running off the pan onto the bottom of the oven despite my sad tin foil efforts to prevent such a fiasco.

Then I had to figure out how to store the apple piles. I suppose in her house they get eaten up right there. Or even "on the go" as she puts it. That's a laugh. I tried to picture Tim grabbing a slice in his hand as he heads out the door and all I saw was him holding the mess in his shirt the way Vern and the boys held their "breakfast" in Stand By Me.

This tasted great, and I'll use the same recipe for a pie, but it's definitely a case of If it Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It.

I'll stick to pie shape in it's nice easy portable pie pan from now on.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fear not ye who have little faith in me. I'm not gone for good, I'm just really bored (or rather boring) lately and somehow making PW's cinnamon rolls for the 4,652nd time just doesn't seem interesting enough to post about.

These are the thrilling things I have to talk about.

I am officially the worst mother in the world because tonight, I introduced my kids to Beetlejuice with the insane idea that they wouldn't be so afraid of the boogieman if they thought it was funny. Dan didn't think it was funny. There is something really wrong with me.

Smack in the middle of some personal family stressful problems that I was sure would raise my blood pressure to a dangerous level, I had a Dr. appt. yesterday and I got to hear the baby's heartbeat. It was a nice bright spot for a particularly crazy day. I have my tell-all ultrasound in a month and a half. (my BP was good too)

I WILL make PW's flat apple pie this week. A good dose of pie crust can fix anything. That's where Tim and I really fit well together. He likes the insides of the pie and I like the crust. It's my excuse to just "have what he's having".

Daniel had a severe emotional reaction when Katie took apart his Legos to put them away. Is superglue a good idea?

The kids are now more socially active than mommy and daddy. The only time we get out is to take them to play dates and birthday parties. But then they're not in the house so that's really a good thing. I'm all socialized out.

Still waiting for that first kick. Not that I'm particularly looking forward to this pregnancy milestone. Being reminded that there is something living inside you is both miraculous and disgusting. I saw "Alien" when I was thwarted with morning sickness during my first pregnancy and well, that's really not a good movie to watch in that condition.

See? That's it. My life plods on like an old swaybacked mule. Or maybe a pony. Did I mention I like horses?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Just two random, completely not related thoughts for today.

When I was little, I remember getting "Where the Wild Things Are" out of the library all the time. I liked the pictures of the monsters.

When it was made into a movie, I couldn't wait to see it but never got the chance till today.

I'd heard that one should watch it before showing it to your kids due to some sort of dark emotional themes that might scare little ones. So I did. While I'm glad I got to see it uninterrupted, I'm not sure where this hesitancy comes from.

This movie was made for kids from a kid's point of view. Just because it isn't another digitally perfect, well rounded, colorful, safe "UP" or "Cars" (both great movies too) doesn't mean kids won't get it. We need to give our children a little more credit than that.

One criticism was that the monsters are dealing with severe emotional disorders that only adults would understand and that kids might worry why the monsters were so unhappy all the time.

Each creature was a kid. Children feel everything unfiltered and so much more intensely. When it appears that kids are being so cruel to each other, (and sometimes I agree, they are) I think they are just figuring out who they are and how they handle things. These "Wild Things" are a reflection of how kids feel and would behave in a world without structure/parents. Think Lord of the Flies but much more fun and much less violent. This teaches a nice lesson about not taking family for granted without shoving the idea down your throat like so many other politically correct cartoons and programs for kids today.

I thought this movie was refreshing and artistic. (I loved that the creatures were just guys in costumes with only their facial expressions digitally enhanced. Beautifully too.) And I think that you'll either get it or you won't. But I do know that my kids have seen the first half of it and they love it.

Also, I'm pretty sure they modeled Max (crazy "wild thing" boy) after Daniel. Some parts made me feel like I was watching a home movie.

Second (much shorter and not nearly as profound--because the above stuff is about as deep as I get) thought:

Yoga Pants. Where have I been? A mom for eight years and I've only worn super-stylish track pants made out of that meshy stuff the guys wore in the eighties with cut-off sleeves to look sporty.

I sought out these so-called "mommy pants" today as I'm in that in-between stage where my usual uniform of belted jeans are now uncomfortable and maternity pants are ridiculously too big.

As Christopher Walken put it so well in The Continental: "Wow! Wowie wow wow!"

These suckers are great. Not only do they make my butt look good (at least to me, half twisted around in the mirror) but I don't have to fuss with a belt and zipper for the million times I am now using the facilities every day.

So, as Martha Stewart would say, Wild Things and Yoga Pants: they're good things.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm having a bit of a flashback right now. As I sit here in the basement I can hear this movie playing on the IFC channel upstairs.

I'm listening to the classic lines of Monty Python and the Holy Grail just the way I heard them when I was first introduced to the movie.

Back in the 80's, before VCRs caught on, the only way to enjoy a show over and over was to hold the tape recorder up to the tv or radio and sit silently while your foot cramped up and you prayed you didn't have to go to the bathroom or that your cursing wouldn't be caught on tape when the phone rang.

At least that's how I did it.

My slightly more technologically advanced sister somehow knew how to hook up her tape player to stuff and so avoided the stifling your sneezes part.

She had a drawer full of tapes made this way. Musicals, shows, specials, all sorts of stuff. Most I thought were boring, but there were a few great ones. The music to Phantom of the Opera and the entire Monty Python/Holy Grail were my favorites. Though some parts don't translate well when not seen, (the banging coconuts as hoofbeats) I still thought it was hilarious and loved it even more when I finally saw the film.
From the thick "Knights who say NI" to the silly taunting frenchman to the "I'm not dead", every classic part makes me laugh every time I see it. Maybe if I close my eyes I can be 12 again picturing what I think the scenes must look like. The Black Knight one was almost exactly how I imagined it.

My morbid interests seem to have overflowed to my kids.

This was a conversation I had with Daniel today.

Dan-- "Mommy, I saw the invisible things in my room today."

Me-- "Really? What types of things do you see?"

"Invisible skeletons, invisible people, invisible white stuff..."

"White stuff?"

"Yeah, like invisible white things com' n at me. Like I can see them right now. They're all over the house."

*thinking the house needs dusting* "If they're invisible, how can you see them?"

"Well, I just do."

"Then they can't be that invisible if you can see them and describe them."

"Oh, but I can see them, they are all over the place and no one knows they're there except me."

Convenient. Maybe I should lay off the Michael Jackson "Thriller" video watching for a while. The kids love it and claim they are not scared by it but I remember just hearing the song and getting wigged out.

Vincent Price was creepy man.